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Oxford Lieder Festival 2009

Concerts, talks & workshops in the eighth year of the UK's biggest annual Song celebration
Various venues, Fri October 16th - Sat October 31st 2009

November 2, 2009
James Gilchrist (tenor) & Anna Tilbrook (piano); Caroline Macphie (soprano) & Joseph Middleton (piano)
This final concert of the Oxford Lieder festival provided a wonderful conclusion to the events over the past two weeks. The concert began with a 'fifteen minute of fame' slot for Caroline Macphie and Joseph Middleton, they proved to be a good partnership and performed three songs by Schubert that I'd never heard before, the most impressive being the lengthy Viola: this could have been just a pretty, slightly twee song featuring a Viola flower. However, Caroline Macphie and Joseph Middleton managed to transport the audience to the early Spring meadows described in the song, and tell the desolate tale of the Viola with sensitivity and expression. Caroline Macphie is an ideal lieder singer with her lovely bright soprano sound and clear diction, and I am sure she would be great on the opera stage too with her fine characterisation.

Before the concert James Gilchrist had given an enthusiastic and interesting talk on Schubert's Schwanengesang, there aren't many singers who would give a talk before a recital, most are too precious about their voices! This certainly had no detrimental effect to his performance of Schwanengesang, which was amazing. I love the total commitment one receives from James Gilchrist, he is a singer who mostly appears on the concert platform or in oratorio, rather than opera; well, he doesn't need to do opera, he is an opera when he performs! Not only does he effectively communicate the narrative in each song, he also inhabits every element like no-one else I've seen. He is not afraid to move around in recital, which some may find distracting, but I have no problem because all his movements are connected to the text, there are no weak habitual gestures in a performance from James Gilchrist, he can also create absolute stillness when required too. The partnership with Anna Tilbrook is a firm one, her accompanying is strong and also sensitive when appropriate, I like the way she also has freedom of movement making the visual element an important factor. The songs collected in Schwanengesange are not a narrative journey but they all work well together in the order they are set. I liked the incredible contrasts achieved in these songs from the gentle Standchen to the raging Aufenhalt and the powerful In der ferne, all settings of Rellstab. The performance of Heine's poem Der Atlas certainly did convey the weight of the world and showed to great effect James Gilchrist's huge dynamic range; the atmospheric Am Meer and Der Doppelganger were stunning in their performance. At the end I felt exhausted (in a good way) so I don't know how James Gilchrist and Anna Tilbrook must have felt! We did try as an audience to coax an encore from them but to no avail, I for one don't blame them!

November 1, 2009
Robin Tritschler – Tenor & Graham Johnson – Piano
30th October 2009
I was initially disappointed when I heard that Christopher Maltman wasn’t performing due to illness, as he’s been a singing hero of mine for some time. However I was soon to find out that Graham Johnson had selected a replacement so I was confident that he would be a good choice.

In fact, Robin Tritchler was the ideal choice to perform ‘Die schone Mullerin’. Even though he was using the score & wearing his reading glasses he still managed to communicate the character in this cycle so well, he just captured the essence of this shy & rather naïve young man. His voice was incredibly beautiful with copious amounts of upper resonance. He sang with great ease, with no visible or audible tension, and although he was singing from the score he still managed to communicate the story through his eyes & vocal interpretation.

During the first song I thought that Graham Johnson’s mill wheel was a bit robust in its dynamic in comparison with Robin Tritchler’s voice, but after that they seemed in perfect balance together. Graham Johnson is an accompanist who doesn’t seem to engage visually with the singer, unlike Malcolm Martineau or Roger Vignoles, but one knows his unerring support is there & one can see that even after playing these songs hundreds of times his passion for Schubert is undiminished & he relishes the music. I love to watch him play & observe those beady eyes scanning the music & jowls a-quiver on the energetic parts!

I thought that the whole performance was delivered with intelligence & depth of feeling, the transition through the young man’s jealousy was never overdone but was convincing. The final song conveyed such peace & serenity, making the conclusion seem even more devastating. I’m sure we are going to see & hear a great deal more of Robin Tritchler in the future.

October 30, 2009
29/10/09 Stephan Loges - Baritone & Roger Vignoles - Piano

The performance commenced with Schumann's 'Dichterliebe'. Stephan Loges set up a great atmosphere right from the start. At first I thought his voice sounded very light, and wondered how he would achieve the depth of sound one expects in 'Ich grolle nicht', but I needn't have worried. Stephan Loges' voice was capable of a wide ranging dynamic with beautiful tonal shading, the phrasing too was commendable. I liked the way he communicated the text, the thought process was expressed through his eyes so convincingly, which made this performance very moving in a subtle but intense way.

Roger Vignoles' accompanying on the piano was superb. Throughout the festival I've heard some stunning pianists but I think Roger Vignoles' playing of 'Dichterliebe' was the best I've ever heard. I liked the way pianist and singer allowed time between some of the songs, and on others moved swiftly on- perhaps to a contrasting song- conveying so aptly the state of mind of the narrator. They made the subject matter of the songs so credible, not just the interpretation of the individual songs, but the journey through to the conclusion, with its hope of moving on. Stephan Loges has a fine way of communicating without overdoing anything. His style was perfect for this song cycle, the end was so well done too. I liked the way he continued to tell the story throughout the piano postlude, which makes this song cycle feel so complete.

The second half of the concert consisted of a performance of some of Wolf's settings of Moricke poems. These were interpreted very well: 'Begegnung' so impressive in the piano description on the final verse, the melancholy beneath the surface of 'Spring', the seclusion expressed in 'Verborgenheit' & the hilarious 'Abschied', all showing that Stephan Loges could do humour very well too. Roger Vignoles got the interpretation of falling down the stairs just so right! Finally, the audience managed to coax both performers back for a divine encore of Schumann's 'Du bist vie eine blume'.

October 27, 2009
Roderick Williams (baritone), Andrew West (piano)
That's the way to do it!!! This was the most wonderful concert, just the way Lieder should be. Roderick Williams engaged totally with the audience right from the start with his totally relaxed manner and complete commitment to the songs. I just love his style: he draws you into the songs and their stories so completely. Andrew West is perhaps a contrast in the way he expresses the songs on the piano, being very deliberate and precise in his style, but the partnership just works perfectly, from the subtlety of the Wolf songs where the harmonic writing is so important and each chord has to fall absolutely right, to the lesser known (I don't know why these haven't been mainstream Lieder repertoire until more recently) Korngold songs. The setting of Rossetti's Requiem, known in English as 'When I am dead my dearest' achieved a greater degree of gravitas when translated into German and set by Korngold. The Mahler Des Knaben Wunderhorn songs were brilliant; I loved the way Roderick Williams told the story in Aus, Aus, establishing the two characters in the song so well. Erinnerung is a favourite of mine and was so captivating. The interpretation of Ich ging mit lust was inspiring, I've never heard it sung as slowly and smoothly as this before - what incredible breath control and phrasing Roderick Williams has, and the nightingale's so wonderfully interpreted by Andrew West. Sometimes this song can sound a bit like pastiche lederhosen-slapping German folk-song, but this interpretation was sublime and the ending line so poignantly asked.

The second half consisted entirely of Schumann settings of poetry by Kerner - this should be a song cycle in itself! The contrasts in the songs were so convincing, from the 'Sturm und drang' of Lust der Sturmnacht to the tender heart breaking Stirb, Lieb und freud, all these songs were just so perfect. Stille Tranen was amazing: I think the whole audience felt a bit wrung out after the incredible interpretation of this climatic song from both singer and pianist. The final song was Alte Laute, which made such an appropriate end to an amazing evening.

October 27, 2009
Gary Griffiths (baritone), Nico de Villiers (piano); Joan Rodgers (soprano), Malcolm Martineau (piano)
This concert began with a 'fifteen minutes of fame' slot for Guildhall opera course student Gary Griffiths and staff accompanist Nico de Villiers, and what a great opening it was too! Gary Griffiths is an imposing figure with a full bodied warm toned voice; the repertoire suited his wonderful stage presence. His biog in the programme states that he originally trained as an actor at Mountview, and this was evident in his performance of Poulenc's Chansons Gaillardes ('Bawdy songs'). I don't think anyone could experience a finer interpretation of these very naughty worded songs, Gary's voice was perfect for the lusty drinking songs and his facial expressions conveyed every nuance of innuendo, some of it very Benny Hill, but it has to be in these songs, I mean, how else can a singer deliver the line 'Mais une fille sans têtons est une perdrix sans orange'!? Nico de Villiers was a fine accompanist, perhaps playing the 'straight guy' opposite the comedian, but none the less extracting every ounce of humour in the piano part. They concluded with three of Britten's folk song settings: The Sally Gardens proved that Gary Griffiths could also do serious and simple without overdoing it over that wonderful accompaniment that Britten has set. The interpretation of the The Foggy Dew contained so much more than the usual 'nudge-nudge, wink-wink' moments that are expected; Gary Griffiths seemed to draw much more from the character in this song and make it into a good story, which is at the heart of the folk-song genre. The all-too-short set concluded with Oliver Cromwell, where both singer and accompanist were spot-on in keeping together at the incredible pace they'd set up. I know that we shall be seeing and hearing much more from these two fine musicians.

The main part of the programme consisted of settings of Pushkin by various Russian composers and Britten; these were performed by Joan Rodgers and Malcolm Martineau. At first I found it difficult to adjust to this repertoire after the opening programme, not only because of the change to serious material, but the Russian poetry is hard to follow if you don't understand the language at all. I don't speak French or German as a language, but these are easier to follow in a concert without having to have one's head buried in the translation; with the Russian repertoire, however, for me there are no familiar words and I don't know the songs, so I need the singer to give me more in their facial expression and communication. This is what I didn't get from Joan Rodgers to start off with. I could see that the interpretation was all happening, but it wasn't quite reaching me and I was a bit distracted with some of her hand gestures. Still, her vocal technique was to be admired. I was sitting very close to the stage and I liked the fact that she stood right at the front of the stage so I was very impressed by her voice. It is also good to hear this repertoire in a well integrated voice rather than some of the heavier voices one hears who push into the chest voice too much. I liked the idea of hearing several settings of the same poems by different composers, and during the first half I particularly enjoyed the settings of Cesar Cui, who I'd not come across before.

As always, Malcolm Martineau was a joy to hear and see. I love the way he communicates with the singer and also to the audience with his sheer enthusiasm; he even got the chance to use his vocal talents in some spoken dialogue in Tchaikovsky's Zemfira's Song, a great end to the first half. During the second half I did feel more engaged to Joan Rodgers' performance, although would have liked a bit more freedom as in Malcolm Martineau's style. The Britten settings were very enjoyable; maybe it was easier to follow the text when set by an English composer. There was also a chance for more comparison of texts set by different composers, which was helpful. The Rachmaninov setting of Do not sing to me was movingly performed, and the final song by Vlasov was beautiful.

October 24, 2009
Rhona McKail (soprano), Sholto Kynoch (piano)
I first heard Rhona McKail at last year's Lieder festival and was very impressed; Rhona and Sholto also featured on Sean Rafferty's Radio 3 programme In Tune this week, where they were interviewed and performed live in the studio. Friday evening's recital began with three songs by Gounod: immediately the audience was transported into Spring with the opening joyous rendering of Chanson de printemps. Rhona McKail's bright, clear toned voice and sheer enthusiasm captured the spirit of the song alongside the gently rolling semiquavers and simple melodic line from Sholto Kynoch on the piano, which enhanced the description of the pastoral scene. The mood was effectively changed for L'Absent, where a mysterious atmosphere was created to portray a sensitive poem that Gounod had written for his wife. Viens, les gazons sont verts is a short song brimming over with life, and I just loved the way Rhona McKail imparted the invitation of the final line of the song (the words of the title): 'Come, the lawns are green'.

The programme continued with contrasting French repertoire from Poulenc's Fiancailles pour Rire; here the partnership between voice and piano excelled in every little nuance. I especially liked Mon cadavre est doux comme un gant: this is a tricky song to get right, especially as Poulenc's instructions are 'to be sung very simply, with a good legato tone'. Rhona McKail certainly achieved this with excellent phrasing throughout, and the following song Violon was brilliantly executed, Rhona McKail capturing the seductive nature of the song both in vocal timbre and visually. I also loved Sholto Kynoch's attention to detail throughout these songs.

The first half concluded with some of Walton's settings of Edith Sitwell: the story of Daphne was well conveyed with the story-telling atmosphere of a traditional folk-ballad. The humour in Through gilded trellises and especially Old Sir Faulk was certainly achieved, and the jazz piano style in the latter was carried off with such fun and quasi-improvised dexterity by Sholto Kynoch.

Britten's On This Island opened the second half of the concert; these descriptive settings of Auden's poems are contrasting in style. Rhona McKail's voice was well-suited for these songs as it is bright sounding, even throughout the range, and without heavy vibrato as one sometimes hears on Let the florid music praise, making it often sound stodgy! But not tonight - this is how it ought to be sung, right through to the quiet intensity of the second stanza. Throughout all these songs the interpretation and commitment from both artists was superb.

The four songs by Richard Strauss, all settings of texts by A.F. von Schack, were beautifully performed. Again, Rhona McKail sounds great in the range that Strauss writes for; with some singers these songs can sound harsh. The intimacy of the poems' texts were all captured so well in these songs, making them a joy to listen to and watch them expressed so well.

The concert concluded with some songs by Roger Quilter, the final two being folk song settings, Ye banks and braes and Charlie is my darling, and I loved Rhona McKail's natural approach to these songs, keeping the folk-song essence at the heart. Folk-song settings can be a bit laboured in their performance, but this was just right and was a fitting end to an immensely enjoyable evening.

October 23, 2009
Schubert: Winterreise; Wolfgang Holzmair (baritone), Andreas Haefliger (piano)
I first encountered Schubert's Winterreise as a young music undergraduate (in prehistoric times!) and I was totally bowled over by it, and immediately rushed out and parted with what seemed a fair chunk of my meagre student finances on a glossy coated vinyl album boxed set (CDs hadn't been invented yet). The recording was by Peter Pears and Benjamin Britten, perhaps these days not so greatly remembered for their Lieder recordings! I still possess the record to this day along with some of my old rock treasures from the seventies, as one of the very few 'classical' purchases from that era; it now nestles in my dinosaur album collection somewhere in between Santana and Skid Row!

Winterreise has remained a favourite throughout the years and I relish any chance to see a live performance. It is fantastic that this song cycle is performed every year as part of the Oxford Lieder festival. It's so good to have it here on home territory in an intimate space (even the Wigmore Hall seems too large unless one can sit at the front) - the Holywell Music room is the ideal space. What a privilege to have one of the leading exponents of Lieder singing, Wolfgang Holzmair, and such a fine pianist as Andreas Haefliger (more well-known as a concert pianist than as an accompanist) perform in Oxford. Holzmair's rendition of the text was fantastic in the terms of his diction, smooth line and attention to every detail; his phrasing was immaculate, and I was impressed with the vocal colouring of each word and the ability so sing so softly without losing the beautiful tone that he possesses. Likewise, Haefliger's accompanying on the piano was superb with some great subtlety at the appropriate moments; he created a fine display of word painting in the accompaniment. The final two songs were brilliant in their rendition of such bleakness, the ending suspended by the two performers so that no one could applaud too soon (the thing that always gets me very angry!) And applaud we all did, when appropriate, with great gusto.

My only criticism of this concert is that it didn't take me on that emotional journey. At the end I heard someone behind me say, 'not a dry eye in the house' - well, mine were, I'm afraid. I was certainly taken on the narrative journey throughout the cycle but I found it difficult to connect emotionally. I think it was for one reason though, and that is Holzmair's gestures throughout, I found his hand movements and occasional 'conducting' with hands or head off-putting. I have no problem with Lieder singers moving around, but I was distracted by Holzmair's gestures as they seemed to be habitual rather than spontaneous, which is a shame as everything else was perfect. Having said this, I still would not have missed this concert and would go and see Holzmair again, but maybe just to listen with closed eyes!

October 20, 2009
Britten: The Complete Canticles, Sat 17 Oct
Saturday evening’s performance in the Britten Weekend was a complete success. Though not something one would just turn up to on spec, for those interested it was certainly a sumptuous ear feast, as was amply clear from the enthusiastic ovation.

It should be said from the start that I am not a classical music buff, and that this show was probably not aimed at plebs like me. Britten, in my opinion, is an acquired taste, and his slightly staccato rhythms are certainly not for everyone. That said, if you hadn’t already acquired the taste then you probably would not have paid twenty pounds to see this, the first performance in the Britten Weekend.

Even still, anyone with an appreciation of musical talent would have enjoyed themselves immensely. The skill and finesse displayed by the musicians was astounding. Julius Drake’s fingers danced across the piano’s keys, and would just occasionally pause that split second before hitting them, adding something indefinable to the sound. Richard Watkins did not once bulldoze the other players with his horn, but managed throughout to maintain a feeling of restrained power and the promise of available force. Last but certainly not least Daniel Norman, the tenor, performed with a rich and confident voice that filled the auditorium to the brim. It was just amazing how he was able to maintain such a smooth, loud voice and never slip into a shout, even when performing Britten’s 'Still Falls The Rain', in which frankly a shout or two would have been forgiven.

I was amazed at how engaged I had been, as I found that over an hour and a half of music just flew by. I think this was due to the infectious energy and gusto flowing out of both Julius Drake and Daniel Norman. Drake’s hands would jump from the keys as if they were red hot, only to settle back down in an almost-dance ready for the upcoming note. Meanwhile Norman’s expression would follow the tone of the song; at times so jovial you had to smile with him and at others almost imploring the audience with shaking force. It was entrancing. The energy coming off both really brought home the difference of seeing something like this performed live as opposed to just hearing a recording.

Even given my ambivalence towards Britten I had a wonderful time. There is no doubt in my mind that for those disposed towards him this was a superb show, as surely will be the rest of the weekend.

October 19, 2009
Oxford Lieder Festival 2009: Opening Concert, Fri 16 Oct
The opening night of this festival (“the best festival Oxford has to offer,” advised my companion) took place in the Jacqueline Du Pre music building in St Hilda's College. This is not a particularly attractive venue; though the acoustics may well be superb (and indeed we hear every syllable and stroke of the piano beautifully), the bare brick walls behind the performers speak of a performance ethos somewhat out of sync with the age of the music we are hearing.

Lieder music is, in a nutshell, early 19th-century German folk poetry set to music. The songs are by and large short, snappy and in the first half at least, on a pastoral theme. The lightness of spirit and variety of composer represented here carry us along. The songs have the delicacy and deceptive simplicity of a lullaby – indeed, Brahms’ Wiegenlied is a very well-known lullaby – but there is a darkness in the poetry and music that tells of betrayal, suffering and death lurking in the sylvan scene.

The second half of the evening darkens the tone considerably. Mahler sets music to poems about jilted lovers, starving children, condemned soldiers and empty churches. There is lightness here too though – we especially enjoyed Lob des hohen Verstandes and Rowan Hellier’s spirited portrayal of a cuckoo and a donkey locked in a battle of wits.

The two singers were excellent thoughout. Hellier has a beautifully liquid and clear voice and her commitment and stillness are mesmerising. The final song, Urlicht, was my own favourite: the almost mystical, funereal music matched Hellier’s otherworldly presence perfectly. William Berger has an effortless ability to project and fill the room with his rich baritone. He of the two is the more physical performer, investing his songs with character (hands in pockets and drunken demeanour as a tipsy musician in Sinding’s Fuge; real anguish and tenderness writ large in his posture in the excellent, slow, sombre yet delicately arresting Der Tamboursg’sell) which really brings the poetry to life.

Sholto Kynoch is the pianist and founder of the Lieder festival. He sits hunched over the keys, gently dabbing where lightness is required but with great strength and command over the roiling dark phrases in the Mahler. These are sophisticated, thought-provoking pieces ably brought to life by three talented performers.

October 18, 2009
CONCERT 3: Britten - 'The complete Canticles'
William Towers: countertenor, Daniel Norman: tenor, Nigel Cliffe: bass, Julius Drake: piano

This concert at the JDP on Sunday afternoon was awesome. The programme commenced with Tippett and Britten arrangements of Purcell songs, beginning with what is probably Purcell's most well-known song, 'Music for a while'. This was smoothly and elegantly performed by William Towers. The next song 'Let the dreadful engines', was a complete contrast in style and introduced the audience to Nigel Cliffe's almost operatic approach in his interpretation of the text, and total commitment that was impressive to say the least (you just couldn't take your eyes off of him). In 'Sweeter than roses', William Towers' accomplished coloratura was displayed to full effect and I loved the twinkle in the eye as Nigel Cliffe ended 'Pious Celinda'. The lead into 'In the black dismal dungeon of despair' was seamless, changing the atmosphere instantly by having William Towers begin this song seated and really exploring the inward nature of this prayerful text on redemption by William Fuller. The 'Three Divine Hymns' that followed were impressively performed by both of the singers and also Julius Drake, who achieved the many contrasts in the piano arrangements - from almost percussive to the very lightest touches and long runs - in perfect timing with the singers. The appoggiaturas and suspensions between singers and pianist were spot on in their execution.

For the Canticle 'The Journey of the Magi' (music by Britten, words by T.S. Eliot), tenor Daniel Norman joined the other two singers, and what amazing Magi they portrayed - really taking us all on their journey in this descriptive poem. The ensemble singing was perfect but there was more than just good technical musicianship: each character of the three Magi was established in their solo lines and the poem was brilliantly portrayed in the piano part right through from the depiction of sore-footed camels to the pensive, subtle conclusion. I was particularly impressed by the way the three singers held their thoughts and gaze until long after Julius Drake had taken his foot off of the sustain pedal at the end, thus ensuring that no one applauded too soon and spoilt the mood.

The second half of the concert consisted of a performance of Britten's 'Abraham and Isaac', movingly performed by William Towers and Daniel Norman. Although the dialogue wasn't acted out directly (they projected to the audience rather than addressing one another as father and son), this didn't detract from the drama. The vulnerability, questioning and final acceptance of Isaac and the anxiety, fatherly love and obedience to God of Abraham were all portrayed as befitting an operatic performance. The parts where both singers blended together tp form the voice of God was superb.

October 16, 2009
Oxford Lieder Festival 2009: Opening Concert, Fri 16 Oct
We splashed out this year and bought festival passes for the Oxford Lieder Festival, which commenced with an excellent concert last night at the JDP. The programme was well-constructed and hopefully will be repeated at some stage; the songs were all settings of 'Des Knaben Wunderhorn' texts, set by Schumann, Mendelssohn, Sinding, Brahms and Mahler. The performers were Sholto Kynoch (director of the festival) - piano, Rowan Hellier - mezzo and William Berger - baritone.

I remember hearing Rowan Hellier at last year's festival and being impressed by her warm-toned voice with excellent line and diction (and she looks pretty stunning too) and I was not disappointed last night. The Mahler songs especially suited her voice. William Berger was fantastic; he has a voice with beautiful resonance throughout his range and an exceptional command of dynamics whilst keeping the tone of the voice consistent. Sholto Kynoch needs no introduction and I am continually amazed at the variation of shade and tone he creates on the piano in addition to co-coordinating the whole festival and amiably and enthusiastically introducing each concert. The communication between Sholto and the two singers was a joy to observe.

During the first half of the concert I particularly enjoyed the songs by Christian Sinding (1856-1941), who I'd never come across before. 'Rosmarin' was beautiful and very moving and in 'Fuge' (Fugue) - a humorous song implying the consumption of wine as the inspiration for composing a fugue - the partnership between William Berger and Sholto Kynoch achieved the perfect balance in capturing the humour without being 'over the top'.

The second half of the concert consisted entirely of Mahler settings. The duet 'Verlorne Muh!' was wonderfully staged between the two singers (as were other duets during the evening, showing that Lieder recitals don't have to be stuffy and boring visually and can be fun). Talking of fun: 'Des Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt' (Anthony of Padua's sermon to the fishes) was brilliantly executed by William Berger, who captured each pun in the comic text as Sholto Kynoch produced the sound of the surging river in the accompaniment. In contrast, Rowan Hellier's moving performance of 'Das irdische Leben' took the audience on a journey far removed from any jollity. Mahler's epic setting of 'Revelge' and 'Wo die schonen Trompeten Blasen' and 'Der Tambourg'sell', all songs with a military-themed narrative, were highlights for me as both singers drew the listener in to the personal accounts of the characters in the songs.

The concert concluded with 'Urlicht' (the fourth movement of Mahler's Second Symphony) set as a song with fairly sparse piano accompaniment. It is clearly quite a challenging piece to sing, but Rowan Hellier performed it beautifully and captured the text perfectly.

The encore performed by both singers was a Brahms setting of the text 'Marienwurmchen' (ladybird), Schumann's setting of which had been sung at the start of the evening. This provided a lovely conclusion to the night, with both voices blending well together.
I wish someone would write a review for the concert of the masterclass students, if anybody was there could you please write a review. I am very interested to find out how it went.

Srauts from Italy
My wife and I attended the Oxford Lieder Festival for the first time this year and were greatly impressed. As long time festival attendees - Bath, Cheltenham, Edinburgh, Endellion, Tetbury, etc etc - we firstly were impressed with the welcome we received, admired the venues, and amazed by the energy, involvement and warmth of the Director's contribution. Oxford is very lucky to have Sholto Kynoch - can we take him to Bath!

Although we were disappointed not to have heard Christopher Maltman and Werner Gura, their replacements in no sense were 'second best'. Both Stephen Loges and Robin Tritschler are clearly two young men with exciting futures. Two to watch, as is Mary Bevan. Thank you, we will be back next year.
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